Youth policy beginning to bear fruit for AC Milan, but rumours about ‘rotten apple’ Mario Balotelli persist
Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri’s recent decision to field an attacking trio with a combined age of 60 against Sampdoria made headlines around Italy.
Antonio Cassano was exactly the type of player AC Milan were missing in the closing stages of their Derby della Madonnina defeat at the hands of city-rivals Internazionale.
A five foot 10 inch forward with a Mohawk haircut as outlandish as his dazzling footwork, ‘Il Faraone’ (The Pharaoh) will start against Arsenal this evening, as Allegri lets the sparkling forward off the leash for an opportunity on the big stage.
Both player and manager were quick to say Henry would be a sideshow, not the main attraction, but his sparkling personality and talent has driven an Arsenal side down on quality but high on spirit in recent weeks.
While it can’t be denied that Arshavin has disappointed at Arsenal, he has actually done a lot better than widely assumed, contributing 30 goals and 37 assists in 132 games for the club, most of which he has not played all of.
Fabio Capello’s managerial career best makes sense to me when I think about that Martin Scorsese’s crime thriller, The Departed. The Departed is one of my favourite films, and Capello’s career is one of the most impressive that any gaffer could want. But, in my view, they both share the same flaw: they are mostly magnificent until their closing stages. (I apologise here for spoiling the plot for anyone who has not yet seen The Departed: if you haven’t seen it, and you wish to, please skip the next paragraph.)
Football faces a shut-down because of the current big freeze. Everything else too is being affected on the run in to Christmas…but please no calls for a mid-season break. When do you take it?
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